Enchantment of the Seas might not have all the jaw-dropping features of newer Royal Caribbean ships, but its fun, friendly onboard atmosphere makes for a wonderful vacation. The crew are always smiling and ready with a joke, and your fellow cruisers, many of whom are on their first cruise ever, will share their contagious excitement about all the daily activities. Plus, with fewer than 2,500 cruisers on most sailings, it's easy to meet and get to know your shipmates. You'll see the same folks day after day on the pool deck or at trivia or lighting up the stage during karaoke. The excellent food and lack of extra-fee venues make mealtime a pleasure onboard. You're rarely bombarded by extra things to spend money on -- minus the first two days of beverage package pushing, of course, or a walk through the shopping promenade. There's a cool rock climbing wall at the back of the ship, and at the front is a funky four-trampoline Jump Zone where kids and teenagers have a blast jumping and somersaulting while attached to bungee cords. Both activities are free of charge. Enchantment also lacks some modern amenities -- you better bring a multi-outlet cord extension (non-power surge protectant) or USB adaptor if you want to be able to charge all your electronics -- and the decor is dated. Anyone looking for the Royal Caribbean you see in commercials (ziplines, surf simulators, robot bartenders) might be disappointed. But, for a comfortable, easygoing cruise with lots of happy faces and simple fun, Enchantment of the Seas can't be beat.
Daytime: Casual. Shorts, T-shirts and bathing suits are the norm.
Evening: Dinner is casual most nights, with jeans, capris, slacks, T-shirts and collared shirts being common, although plenty of couples dressed in suits and dresses. The once-per-cruise "Wear Your Best" asks cruisers to spiffy up, though how they do so is up to them. Most dressed to the nines, with men in suits (tuxes are rare) and women in dresses.
Not permitted: Swimwear is only permitted on the pool deck, though we saw women in cover-ups in the buffet; shorts are off-limits at dinner time in all dining venues, except the buffet.
The 950-passenger, two-deck tall Orpheum Theater is home to many of Enchantment of the Seas' late afternoon activities, including a once-per-cruise Love & Marriage Game Show and, of course, evening production shows. Also, on rainy day cruises, you'll find recent movies shown once or twice a day in here. On a four- or five-night cruise, you'll have two song-and-dance stage shows, both featuring music from a collection of movies and both seriously outdated and in desperate need of an overhaul ("Beach Blanket Bingo," seriously?). One odd thing to note: The shows are rarely at the same time every night. One evening the early show might be at 7 p.m., the next night it's 8 p.m. and same for the later night performances. Better to double-check each night so you don't risk missing out on a performance that you want to see by lingering too long at dinner. The best shows are courtesy of the guest performers, usually comedians, a magician or a hypnotist.
Daily Fun: You'll find a busy roster of activities during the day onboard Enchantment of the Seas, with a much fuller selection on sea days and little to nothing to do on port days. Activities are listed in the printed Cruise Compass and are divided into Things to Do (mostly fitness classes or casino gaming activities), Wellness & Retail Therapy (mostly spa "seminars" and retail shop events), For Foodies and Entertainment Events & Activities. Typical daily activities include trivia sessions (themed and general knowledge), bingo (extra-fee), paper aeroplane contests, cupcake decorating or sushi-making classes (extra-fee), belly flop or sexiest man contests by the pool, art auctions and dance classes. Many of the activities are held in the Centrum, the ship's five-deck atrium, and when no games or demonstrations are being held, there's almost always live music. On sea days, there's usually a tournament or two in the casino, as well. We highly recommend you stop by to watch the last-day egg drop contest, which involves contestants devising a variety of clever (or utterly foolish) contraptions to save their raw eggs from smashing when tossed from Deck 8 down to Deck 3. It's a lot more fun than we expected.
At Night: Beyond the nightly theatre shows, you'll find live music in several places onboard. Most popular is the Latin music in Boleros lounge and piano music in Schooner Bar. The latter takes on an animated sing-along atmosphere the later it gets. One of the most popular venues at night is the Spotlight Lounge, where you'll find nightly karaoke sessions. It's always a packed crowd here, and we heard groans just about every night when the host said they were done for the night (usually around 10:30 p.m.). Dancers gravitate to either the Centrum (couple-style dancing until around 11 p.m.) or the Viking Crown Lounge for upbeat DJ'd hits after 10:30 p.m. (Viking Crown is limited to those 18 and older after 10 p.m.) Another hot spot onboard is the casino where cruisers hope luck will be a lady to them at the slot machines and poker, roulette and craps tables.
R Bar (Deck 4): This bar is centrally located along one side of the Centrum and offers a selection of cocktails, including martinis, gimlets, whiskey-based drinks and Champagne mixers. There's also a selection of beer and wine. It's kept busy thanks to the loads of activities that take place in the Centrum throughout the day.
Boleros Lounge (Deck 5): We rarely saw this lounge busy on our sailing, despite the fact that on other ships it can be one of the most highly entertaining spots onboard. Live Latin-style music is held here every afternoon and evening; during the day, the space is used for a variety of daytime activities including bingo, giant Ping-Pong, visual trivia and teens-only karaoke. This is also the best place onboard to get a mojito.
Casino Bar (Deck 5): The only bar onboard where you can smoke, the Casino Bar is located to one side of the casino and also doubles as the ship's sports bar. It's the only indoor spot onboard to watch televised sports games, and it can get quite rowdy on a Sunday afternoon.
Schooner Bar (Deck 6): A definite hive of activity on Enchantment of the Seas, the nautical-themed Schooner Bar is where you'll find almost all the trivia onboard during the day and lively piano music at night. Its bar is active all day long and cruisers quickly bond with the friendly bartenders. You'll find a variety of cocktails, beers and wines.
Spotlight Lounge (Deck 6): A large secondary theatre all the way at the back of the ship on Deck 6, the Spotlight Lounge is regularly used for activities such as bingo, art seminars and auctions and interactive game shows ("Majority Rules," "Family Feud," "The Quest"), but it's at its busiest between 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. every night when the karaoke gets started. It's usually standing room only and the crowd definitely gets into singing along and even dancing when appropriate. (The twirling and two-stepping to one guy singing Garth Brook's "Friends in Low Places" was one of the most impressive things we've ever seen on a ship.)
Viking Crown Lounge (Deck 11): You'll find some of the nicest views in the Viking Crown Lounge, which features loads of floor-to-ceiling windows. During the day it's pretty quiet with people reading or small groups playing cards, but starting late -- around 11 p.m. -- the space heats up with DJ'd music and lots of dancing. If you like a dance club vibe, Viking Crown is the place to be.
Diamond Club (Deck 12): An exclusive lounge, located at the topmost spot on the ship, the Diamond Club is only open to the highest levels of Royal Caribbean's loyalty program.
Enchantment of the Seas has three pools, all on Deck 9: two outside on the main pool deck and one inside the enclosed Solarium. There are also four hot tubs surrounding the outdoor pools and two hot tubs in the Solarium. The two outdoor pools are deep water but have a periphery of shallow water you can wade in. Families will find a PFD (personal flotation device) station for small kids, and lifeguards are always on duty during open hours. Right next to the two outdoor pools is a small splash zone for toddlers with a fountain that continually sprays water. Both outside and inside the Solarium, the pools are surrounded by tons of loungers. Additionally, on Deck 10 overlooking the two outdoor pools, you'll find yet more loungers, including some under shade -- though watch out, as the sun moves through the sky, so too does the shade. Pools can be quiet or raucous depending on the crowd and any poolside activities (think belly flop contests, poolside movies and passengers versus officer sports games).
Enchantment of the Seas boasts two high-energy outdoor activities. The first, located at the back of the ship on Deck 10 is the rock climbing wall. On the opposite end of Deck 10 is a bungee/trampoline Jump Zone with four trampolines and bungee attachments. (Adults are welcome but we never saw a single person over 15 there.) Both have limited opening hours, so always check the Cruise Compass for timing, and require socks to participate. The minimum age to use both attractions is 6 years old. You'll also find Ping-Pong tables on Deck 9. There is no sports deck on Enchantment of the Seas, so no place to play basketball or volleyball.
You'll find sun deck space around the outside pools on Deck 9 and on Deck 10, pretty much from front to back. There's also lots of lounging space inside the adults-only Solarium (technically 16 and older). Although the roof can open, on our sunny five-night cruise it never was, so it's not really the best spot if you want to get a tan. The Solarium is always a quiet spot for relaxation, whereas there's almost always music playing by the two main pools, and during activities like the belly flop competition, passenger versus officer water volleyball or sexiest man competition, it can be downright loud.
Most of the main services on Enchantment of the Seas can be found on Deck 5, including the guest services and excursion desks (purchase two or more excursions the same day you board and get 10 percent off). The shops (fine jewellery, liquor and tobacco, Royal Caribbean-branded souvenirs, etc.), art gallery, and photo gallery and camera shop are on Deck 6. There's also a conference room on Deck 6, along with the NextCruise Desk for anyone looking to book their next cruise while onboard. The ship has no library, but you can find a teeny selection of books near the internet cafe (Deck 5), which has about eight work stations. (We loved that each one has a hand sanitiser pump.) We rarely saw anyone there as most people use the ship's speedy Voom Wi-Fi on their own devices. Royal Caribbean offers several unlimited Wi-Fi packages, which can be bought per day or per cruise. Packages are either just for surfing the internet on one, two or four devices or for full surfing and streaming (also on one, two or four devices). Pricing can vary by itinerary but on our sailing, the surf and stream package started at $19.99 per day for one device. If you purchase a single day pass on the last day of the cruise you'll get 20 percent off. There is no self-service laundry on Enchantment of the Seas, but halfway through your cruise, you'll be offered a special on a bag full of socks, underwear, shorts, T-shirts, swimwear and pyjamas. The price is around $25 a bag. There's a medical facility on Deck 1.
The Vitality Spa on Deck 9 is a tranquil respite from the business of cruise life. It offers a range of treatments that include massages, facials, scrubs, ionithermie, teeth whitening and salon services including hair and nails. Prices are higher than what you'd typically pay at home: $119 to $265 for massages that run from 50 to 90 minutes and $122 to $184 for facials. (Port day prices are slightly lower, and if you book three treatments you'll get 10 percent off the first, 20 percent off the second and 30 percent off the third.) Watch out when paying at the end. An automatic 18 percent gratuity is already added, but there's a spot for additional gratuity, so be careful not to over-tip -- unless you want to. The spa is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
To get inside the Vitality Fitness Center on Enchantment of the Seas, enter through the spa entrance, then take the stairs up one level. You'll find a medium-size gym with lots of Life Fitness treadmills and elliptical machines. There's also a handful of reclining bikes, along with weight machines, exercise balls, free weights up to 90 pounds and yoga mats for anyone looking to do floor exercises, though you might have a hard time finding open space to place your mat. There's also a section of spin cycles, but they're only for use during extra-fee classes ($12 per class). Other classes include complimentary stretching and abs classes, and extra-fee Pilates and yoga (both $12 per class). Personal training is available for $85 an hour. The Vitality Fitness Center is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Joggers can take advantage of the outdoor jogging track (Deck 10), but it hasn't been updated in a while and the cracked flooring doesn't look like it would feel glad on anyone's feet.
Dining on Enchantment of the Seas is a highlight and because the kitchen doesn't have to serve multiple competing venues, the food is excellent no matter where you choose to dine. Even the buffet, often the weakest link in a ship's culinary offerings, has several tasty options, particularly at the Mexican and Indian stations. On Enchantment of the Seas, you definitely don't have to splurge on the two extra-fee dining options to get the best food, though foodies will certainly find a good value should they choose to indulge at the Chops Grille steakhouse or Chef's Table. Special dietary needs can be accommodated with advance notice, and menus in both the main dining room and Chops Grille are marked with gluten-free, lactose-free, vegetarian and no-sugar-added options. A full vegan menu is also available in the main dining room on request.
My Fair Lady Dining Room (Decks 4 and 5)
Meals: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Dinner (D): Enchantment of the Seas two-deck main dining room offers open-seating breakfast and lunch. For dinner, cruisers can choose either set seating (at 5:30 or 8:30 p.m.), dining at the same time, at the same table and with the same tablemates and waiters every evening, or My Time Dining, dining anytime between 5:15 and 9 p.m. For the latter option, walk-in anytime or make an advance reservation, or make a standing reservation for the same time and the same table every night at the start of the cruise. Without reservations, you might eat with others at a shared table depending on availability and wait time Breakfast is a mix of a serve-yourself buffet and waiter-served dishes. The buffet is restricted to pastries, cereals, fruit and yoghurt, with hot items on the a la carte menu. While it's a quiet alternative to the Lido Marketplace, service is slow; give yourself at least an hour to eat. Lunch is only on sea days and offers a similar scaled-down menu to dinner, with serve-yourself salad and pasta bars in the middle of the venue. The dining room's star attraction, dinner is a banquet-style, sit-down affair with multiple courses, including soups and salads, appetizers, main courses and desserts. About half the menu changes daily, with several items, like French onion soup, shrimp cocktail, roasted chicken breast and New York strip loin, available every night. Three extra-fee options every night include whole Maine lobster ($29.95), filet mignon ($16.95) and surf and turf ($34.95).
Windjammer Marketplace (Deck 9)
Meals: B, L, D: Located all the way at the back of Deck 9, the Windjammer Marketplace is a circular space with buffet counters at the centre of the circle and off to the sides, and seating filling in all the surrounding space. (There's also some additional space further midship, on the way to the pool deck, with a small gluten-free buffet that includes entrees and desserts.) There's lots of glass and natural light, which can make the space uncomfortably hot; sit away from the windows if you're sensitive to the heat. Tables range from two-tops to larger tables for six to eight people. Food is offered for all three meals, but the venue closes for a half-hour between breakfast and lunch and for three long hours between lunch and dinner. Breakfast offers the usual morning options from eggs, pancakes and breakfast meats to fruit, cereals and yoghurts. Lunch and dinner offer a similar array of savoury choices, along with soups and salads. Buffet stations typically include pasta choices, Asian items (mostly Indian), comfort foods (mac 'n' cheese, grilled veggies, etc.) and a carving station. There's also a grill station with hamburgers and hot dogs located off to one side. (There is no poolside grill on Enchantment of the Seas.) A dessert station is open for lunch and dinner with cakes (including sugar- and gluten-free choices) and fruit; an ice cream machine is located outside the buffet, not too far from the pool. Windjammer Marketplace is most crowded for breakfast on port days, and you might want to consider alternative spots if you're not interested in fighting the crowds for a table.
Solarium Park Cafe (Deck 9)
Meals: B, L and Late-Night Snacks: Located inside the Solarium, a quiet pool space for those 16 years and older, the Solarium Park Cafe is a peaceful alternative to the buffet, with health-inspired food choices that include yoghurt and parfaits at breakfast and deli sandwiches and a full salad bar at lunch. Similar-style small bites are available after 9 p.m. through 3 a.m. for anyone who needs a pick-me-up after dancing the night away in the Viking Crown Lounge.
Cafe Latte-Tudes (Deck 6)
Meals: Snacks: Need a light bite between meals or crave something to satisfy your sweet tooth? Then, the Cafe Latte-Tudes counter is the place to visit at just about any time of day. You'll find small sandwiches and a variety of sweets. We particularly loved the chocolate croissants and chocolate mousse.
Meals: B: The only free room service onboard is the Continental Breakfast option, available daily from 6 to 11 a.m. Options include breads, cereals, pastries, yoghurt and fruit, along with coffee, tea and juice. Order via a hanging card that you put on the outside of your door the night before. Anything more substantial will incur a delivery surcharge.
Chef's Table (Deck 4); $85
Meals: D: This culinary experience is recommended for foodies. Limited to just 12 people per dinner, this multicourse meal is available every night of the cruise, except the first night (embarkation day), and includes wine pairings. (The menu is set and does not vary from sailing to sailing and is not recommended for anyone with dietary restrictions, especially vegetarians.) Meals are led by a chef and include dishes you can't get anywhere else onboard. All cruisers who attend a Chef's Table during the cruise are also invited to a complimentary galley tour on the last sea day in the afternoon. Reservations are required.
Chops Grille (Deck 6); $39.99 for dinner, $22 for lunch (special pricing for children 12 and under)
Meals: L, D: The main alternative dining venue on Enchantment of the Seas, Chops Grille is an American steakhouse that is perfect for date nights and celebrating milestone events -- or simply because you feel like eating meat. The cover charge includes one soup or salad, one appetizer, one main course and unlimited sides. Highlights include the lobster bisque, colossal shrimp cocktail and jumbo lump crabcake, and the filet mignon and New Zealand rack of lamb. For non-red meat eaters, the grilled branzino is tasty (and even tastier when you spread a little creamed spinach over it). For those who want a little surf with their turf, two seafood towers can be ordered for an extra fee: the Grande Tower ($19) comes with jumbo shrimp, green-lipped mussels, clams, crab claws and a Maine lobster tail. The Imperial ($39) comes with even more of the same. Desserts are equally decadent; we recommend the warm chocolate cake. Lunch is similar, though the menu is smaller and includes a chopped steak hamburger that is not available at dinner.
Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream (Deck 6); a la carte, from $2.95
Meals: Snacks: Located next to Cafe Latte-Tudes, you'll find six different flavours of Ben & Jerry's ice cream available for purchase.
Room Service; $7.95 per order
Meals: B, L, D: Hearty breakfast options include eggs, pancakes, sausage and bacon, while day/night options (11 a.m. to 6 a.m.) include salads, sandwiches including burgers and grilled cheese, pasta, Mexican specialities and chicken wings.
Staterooms on Enchantment of the Seas are comfortable but missing modern touches, such as USB ports, bedside outlets and glass shower doors. While we don't think the furnishings and carpet date back to the ship's launch in 1997, they certainly look like they do. Despite coming in under the industry average in terms of size, cabins are comfortable and spacious enough for two people. Junior suites and higher-category rooms feel large enough for a family of four, but, honestly, we can't imagine cramming more than two people into an inside or ocean-view cabin. (Lots of people do though, and we often saw the ceiling pull-down beds fully set up as we passed open doors.) Plenty of rooms do offer extra beds for up to four people, and some suites can even take up to eight. There are lots of connecting rooms, as well, for those who want to share some space but don't want to be confined to one room. You'll find 20 accessible cabins in a variety of categories.
All cabins come with at least two closets and three large drawers, as well as smaller desk drawers and cabinet space. A couple of smaller, camouflaged shelves are tucked behind the sides of the desk mirrors. Rooms have at least two chairs: one desk style, one armchair. The desk has some open space, but half of it is usually taken up by a tray with your ice bucket (if you request one) and glasses. The only electric outlets in the room are located by the desk as well. You'll find one U.S. and one U.K. outlet. We used an adaptor in the U.K. outlet so we could charge more than one item at a time. Beds are almost all twins that can be pushed together to form a "Royal King"; a handful of rooms have queen beds instead. In many of the rooms, the bed is backed by a mirror, ostensibly to make the small room feel bigger. But, like the furnishings and carpet, the brass-framed mirrors just give the room an out-of-date feel. Overhead lights are perfectly positioned for hitting your head in the middle of the night. Most rooms have one flat-screen TV with several channels, including news, sports, movies and several ship channels with all kinds of information about offerings of Enchantment and Royal Caribbean, in general. Inside rooms and ocean-view cabins without a balcony do not have mini-fridges, but all other cabin categories have them. Similarly, all balcony cabins and higher have double sofa beds, while only some inside and ocean-view rooms have them. Bathrooms, at least in the standard rooms, are small. Forget about trying to fit two people in at the same time, and the showers, which are seriously undersized, have flimsy shower curtains that don't reach all the way to the bottom. Unless you're paying attention, you're going to end up with water on your bathroom floor. We suggest asking your room steward for an extra towel and have it already on the floor when you step into the shower. In the shower stall, you'll find a pump with a body wash/shampoo/conditioner combo; if you care at all about your hair, we suggest bringing your own bath products. There's a bar of soap for the sink.
Interior: Interior cabins are the most common type of cabin onboard Enchantment, with 463 of them divided into three categories. The standards are tiny at 136 square feet. Spacious interiors, which can hold up to six people, are 234 square feet and have a double sofa bed and two bunk beds, in addition to the two twins. Accessible interior rooms are 252 square feet and, depending on their configuration, can fit up to three, four or five people.
Oceanview: There are four varieties of ocean-view rooms; standards are even smaller than inside rooms at 126 square feet, and depending on their configuration (some actually have a double sofa bed in that tiny space!) can hold two, three or four people. Spacious Ocean Views are 200 square feet, have a double sofa bed and hold up to four people. At 608-square-feet, the Ultra Spacious Ocean View rooms are one of the best values on the ship; they have a double sofa bed and can hold up to eight people. Accessible ocean-view cabins are 262 square feet and can hold up to five people.
Balcony: There are just 248 cabins with balconies on Enchantment of the Seas and some of those are suites. There are two types of standard balconies. The non-accessible balcony room is 191 square feet and has a 39-square-foot balcony. These rooms can hold four or five people. Accessible balcony staterooms can hold up to four people and are 350 square feet, but the balcony is still only 39 square feet.
Mini-suite: Another good value are the junior suites, which are 247 square feet, have a 74-square-foot balcony and can hold up to four people. There is also an accessible version of this room; that's 347 square feet, also with a 74-square-foot balcony. Cruisers staying in junior suites get priority check-in and boarding and an in-room Coffee/Tea service.
Suite: There are four kinds of suite onboard Enchantment of the Seas, and cruisers staying in any of them get a variety of exclusive perks, including priority check-in, boarding and departure; a pillow menu and Gilchrist & Soames bathroom amenities; concierge services; complimentary pressing on the first formal night of the sailing; priority dining reservations, spa bookings and shore excursion ticketing; a suite party on sailings of five nights or longer; a tour of the bridge, galley and backstage; a welcome fruit basket and Evian water; complimentary 24-hour room service and the ability to order room service off the main dining room menu at dinner; private breakfast in Chops Grille; and reserved seating in the theatre. Those staying in the Royal Suite also get a welcome bottle of Moet & Chandon Champagne.
One-Bedroom Grand Suite: The smallest suite onboard is this one-bedroom Grand Suite, which measures 349 square feet and has an 111-square-foot balcony. The suite has a bedroom and living area, separated by a curtain, and can fit up to four people. It's got a massive amount of closet space and a lovely bathroom with shower/tub combo. The oversized balcony has a glass-topped wicker drinks table with two chairs and two thickly padded loungers. There are 12 one-bedroom Grand Suites.
Owner's Suite: The owner's suite is a bit larger at 517 square feet, also with a 111-square-foot balcony. It, too, has a bedroom and a living area that are separated by a curtain and can fit up to four people. The bathroom is sizable and has a glassed-in shower, separate tub and a bidet (along with a traditional toilet). The balcony is identical to the one found in the one-bedroom grand suite. There are five Owner's Suites on Enchantment.
Two-Bedroom Grand Suite: The only two-bedroom options on Enchantment of the Seas, these four suites are 532 square feet, each with a 79-square-foot balcony. The suite features two bedrooms, each with two twin beds that convert to a royal king, plus there's a living room with a double sofa bed and two pull-down beds, increasing the suite's capacity to up to eight people. There are two bathrooms, one with just a shower and one with shower/tub combo.
Royal Suite: The single Royal Suite onboard Enchantment of the Seas is the largest suite onboard, coming in at just more than 1,000 square feet, plus a 172-square-foot balcony. It's also the most luxe with a baby grand piano and lots of marble. Holding up to four passengers, the suite offers lots of room to spread out, with separate bedroom and living rooms and lots of extra seating, closets and drawers. In the bedroom, you'll find a full king-sized bed, while the living room has a double sofa bed and a glass dining table with room for four. The master bathroom has double sinks, a separate -- and oversized – glassed-in shower and a marble bathtub. There's even a bidet, along with a regular toilet. On the large balcony, you'll find two thickly padded loungers and two wicker chairs with a glass-topped drinks table.